Netherlands Launches Major Research Initiative to Tackle Gambling Addiction

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The Netherlands has recently announced six research projects as the inaugural beneficiaries of the Addiction Prevention Fund (VPF) funding. The projects are part of the first subsidy round under the new ZonMw Prevention of Gambling Addiction program.

ZonMw, a prominent healthcare research organization, is overseeing this initiative at the behest of the Netherlands’ gaming regulator, Kansspelautoriteit (KSA). The program is set to continue until 2029, marking a significant commitment to understanding and mitigating gambling addiction.

Funding and Objectives of the VPF

The VPF, established in 2021, is financed through an additional levy on high-risk gambling activities. Managed by KSA, the fund has multiple objectives, primarily focusing on researching the prevention and treatment of gambling addiction.

The breakthrough round’ focuses on issues about vulnerable groups, prevention, treatment and interventions. Also, gambling-related damage and the product characteristics and context of gambling.

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Several Areas of Research

The research under this program is diverse and addresses various aspects of gambling addiction. Projects include an evaluation and enhancement of CBT treatment for gambling at Amsterdam UMC, and Trimbos Institute’s initiative to develop and test the effectiveness of Moti-4 for gambling issues among youth. Both Trimbos and Amsterdam UMC have been recognized with two awards each. Other significant projects include the University of Amsterdam’s study on the impact of gambling advertisements on vulnerable groups and IVO’s research in this domain.

ZonMw was appointed to manage the program in 2021, just before the launch of the Netherlands’ licensed gambling market. HANDS (Human Assistance Network for Daily Support) and The National Healthcare Institute have also been involved in leading efforts to minimize gambling-related harm. The Prevention of Gambling Addiction program officially commenced in March 2023, opening opportunities for grants to entities working in the prevention and treatment of gambling addiction.